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Thread: What do you make of this thing??? '52 M38A1

  1. #1
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    What do you make of this thing??? '52 M38A1

    So I bought a Jeep. Love it! Just been cruisin all around town, having a grande ole time! I have been trying to find some info on this thing...not much luck. I contacted a previous owner, waiting for a reply. I have been doing some research on the M38A1s since I bought it...far from any kind of expert, I'd say I just dipped my toe into this world of the military Jeep; though from the few things I have found on the web, my Jeep has some clear differences. Are they all civilian mods done after the fact? Are they stock? A bit of both? What is what? I figured I would find most of my answers with y'all, so I'd like your opinion on some photos I've taken in the hopes that you can enlighten me on a few things.

    First things first...missing data plates and added speakers?
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    There are two speakers??? on the dash, one above the steering column, and one right where the original data plate would be, I can see the little holes where the original plate seems to have been. What could these be? Then there is some sort of beige spot that looks like it had something, and what appears to be newly added "data plates" simply screwed into the middle of the dash.

    Side note, I've also checked to find the original VIN plate behind the passenger's seat, just found four little holes where a small little plate would have been, I'm assuming it was taken off...

    Next is this thing on the rear passenger's side...what is this little thing pokin out?
    6080.jpg

    Now the Rear...from all the pics I've seen, the M38A1 had one Jerrycan holder to the left and the spare to the right, with the tow cable plugs...I have two Jerrycan holders and spot for a spare tire in the center, no plugs or anything... I don't know what to make of this.
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    I found the spot under the hood for the shovel...that's freakin sweet! On the left side, where the blackout light would have been, it has been cut off and bondo has been covered over. The only other markings (apart from the cutely painted Seoul Survivor) are on the hood, near the left fender, it says "1952 M38A2"...dont know why it would say that...what is an M38A2? I'm thinking somebody messed up. There are some numbers letters on the engine, but I really have to clean that all up to take a solid look. There is another spot to put a spare, on the drivers side, but that definitely looks like a civilian addition, it's not even OD green... There is a German bottle cap opener on the dash, that's pretty cool. Open up a bottle of Grape Nehi with that thing! It has been converted from a 24 to a 12 volt system, there are some definitely newer parts under the hood. But the owner had told me that before I bought it, so I knew about that modification. Anyway, I hope with these few pics, you can help me out. What are these things and should they be on my Jeep, has someone modded the crap out of it?

    Thanks,

    Nick

  2. #2
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Nick,

    Your assumption is correct. Your ride has been subjected to some civilian modifications. from the looks of things, with a little work, you could bring her back to her former glory. The spare tire holder looks to be the correct issue mount, it had been relocated to the center. Then the extra jerry can mount was added. The odds are that the holes are probably still in the back panel, but may be slathered over in body filler. The trailer connection was most likely removed to make room for the left side jerry can mount.

    The data tags and the serial plate behind the passenger seat were held on by sheet metal screws. They often times are kept for souvenirs, but in your case, the dash plates were removed so that the speaker could be hacked in.

    The shovel holder under the hood is a nice touch, and you can find surplus shovels from time to time that fit the mounts. A web strap, and you are in business. https://www.kaiserwillys.com/new-ste...ts-52-66-m38a1 The example is from Kaiser Willys, but if you search around some of the California flea markets, you may be able to find one cheap.

    I can not make out the object on the right rear quarter panel. I can not blow the picture up enough to make an identification.

    As far as the M38A2, it is my thinking that they were confusing this Jeep with the M151A2 MUTT, (Vietnam era Jeep replacement made by Ford/AM General/AMC). It is a whole different branch on the family tree. The middle picture is of an 151A2
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    Last edited by gmwillys; 08-23-2018 at 06:17 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info! I very much appreciate it!!! I'm just glad that there is some conformation about these things. A few of the other things that I didn't show, like the extra tire mount and bottle opener were extremely obvious (I'm still gonna keep the bottle opener, makes me laugh every time looking at it), but these other mods, I was secretly hoping were like modifications soldiers/units did in the field, but the practical side of me has been saying...dude come on, hahaha. I'll have to take a better pic of that metal thing on the rear of the Jeep. It's just one of those unusual, why is this here kinda attachments? I found a surplus shovel and if fit perfectly. I have a couple boxes of surplus stuff in the garage somewhere, I think there is a whole bag of straps, I might just have something to work. I really am interested in these speakers...I'm scratching my head as to how they work, I can't even figure out how they hook up hahaha, more digging there. Anyway, thanks again for the info!
    Last edited by BigNick; 08-24-2018 at 03:37 AM.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    When you get the speakers figured out, I have a suggestion. I was at a military vehicles show a while back, and a guy had a nice M151 with a period correct set of radios. Long story short, he had wired into the system an mp3 player that had period military air traffic downloaded. It made for a really good audio display. You could even keep with the MASH theme and have Radar talking to Sparky in a loop? Just a thought.
    Last edited by gmwillys; 08-24-2018 at 04:39 AM.

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    Mind blown!! That is an epic idea!!! I will definitely look into doing this! Thanks! Where might I start to look for something like this?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Grc-9 HF would be the radio set, but you could probably find a set of military surplus speakers, that would fit the bill.

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    Member Nemo von Klepper's Avatar
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    I just sort of dropped into the convo.

    Re: MASH theme: I have a '54 CJ3B that I'm still trying to think up a theme. I see that some of these were used in Vietnam as M606s. I've thought about doing a MASH theme, though 4077 is the wrong conflict and I don't think any M606s saw duty there. Anyway, I find most people don't notice the difference. I've seen some M38s and CJ2A & Bs passed off in the movie "Patton". There's even a CJ3B briefly in a scene in Sicily. Not nearly as bad as the used car dealer in Nashville recently trying to pass off a mid '60s CJ3B as a '46 MB--I hope his is just a case of supreme ignorance and not a case of fraud.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Often times it's a mix of ignorance of the seller and consumer. Everything is rare on ebay, and worth a small fortune. Buyers do not take the time to educate themselves on what they really want, and what they are swing.
    As far as your 3B/606, you have a clean slate to do what you see fit. Some folks balk at tribute 2A into an MB, but I look at it this way, if you are out enjoying your Jeep, then do it up the way you want.

  9. #9
    Member Nemo von Klepper's Avatar
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    So here’s the link to that jeep misidentification: https://youtu.be/E3Z8cccOCKQ. It’s sort of pitiful how confident the guy sounds.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    In a similar vein -

    You go to a gun show and find a guy trying to sell an M1 Garand as a real WWII rifle - he might even show you stamp on the stock with a CircleP mark. He will tell you that means it was a rifle issued to General Patton's troops - George insisted that all of his rifles be marked that way... NOT!

    Circle P is just an armory mark meaning it was proof fired and accepted.

    Buy the item, not the story - Jeeps, rifles and horses!

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